Controversy erupted in Davis this summer over its police department’s recent acquisition of a surplus armored vehicle from the Pentagon. But did you know Citrus Heights and South Lake Tahoe also received high-powered mine-resistant vehicles?
The Sacramento Police Department got eight grenade launchers.
In all, California police agencies used a federal program to acquire about 420,000 military items worth a total of $150 million from the Pentagon, according to new federal data released by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
The military gave California police agencies roughly 8,000 M16 assault rifles, 100 mine-resistant or armored vehicles and 45 helicopters, along with myriad other items under the program, which was initiated in the mid-1990s.
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Most Sacramento police agencies use the program. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, for instance, acquired more than $9 million in equipment, including eight helicopters (six of which were used for parts). Only two other agencies in the state acquired gear worth more than the equipment obtained by the Sheriff’s Department, the state’s data show.
Police response to protests in Ferguson, Mo., has caused some, including several U.S. senators, to criticize the “militarization” of police agencies. Law enforcement officials have countered that the Public Safety Procurement Program provided them with essential, modern gear, often during lean times.
To see all items acquired by California police agencies from the Pentagon under its Public Safety Procurement Program, go to www.sacbee.com/datacenter.